By Ajay Chowdhury
- The Detective
Author: Ajay Chowdhury
- Series: Book 3 of Detective Kamil Rahman
Publisher: Random House
- ISBN: 9781473596511
- Published: April 2023
- Pages: 360
- Format reviewed:
- Review date: 15/06/2023
- Language: English
It is never nice to be the new person at work, getting to know your new workmates and the procedures, whilst trying to look like you know what you are doing. It is even harder if you are joining the police with a reputation and the support of upper management. You will have to add to petty jealousies as well, but in the case of Detective Kamil Rahman, he deserves a leg up. Not only has he worked as a detective in the past but has helped to solve cases when working as a Chef. However, now he is The Detective and in Ajay Chowdhury latest he is going to have to prove himself all over again when a tech entrepreneur is assassinated on his patch.
Detective Rahman expected to have to work up from the bottom rung as the new detective, but he is made the DI’s partner and given a new case instantly. The body of a tech entrepreneur has been found dead at a construction site and the motive may just be linked to the company he worked for. They specialise in algorithms for dating sites, but the technology can be used for something else. A tool that predicts behaviours and matches people can be a powerful tool in the right hands. In the wrongs hands it may just be worth killing for.
There are several ways to play detective fiction, do you ground it in a sense of reality, or go for some thrills that may not feel realistic? Detective has a central case that starts off feeling like it could have been real. Is the murder of a CEO random, or part of a conspiracy? You cannot forget the victim's personal life; the murderer could have owed them money or be a jealous lover. Chowdhury creates a story that focuses on the procedural element of crime fighting. When done well, following an officer as they track down the evidence can be as good as any madcap car chase or shoot out.
The character of Rahman really plays well into this. He is an experienced detective who knows the theory or how to solve a murder but is also someone who listens to their gut. Rahman plays a key role in moving the investigation forwards, although he is the junior partner. To make for a good fictional element, the character must also be rounded. Rahman does not have an addiction or corrupt nature, but he does face barriers. The fact that has moved to the UK from another country places a barrier between himself and some of his fellow officers. He also has a complex relationship at home. These elements play into deepening the character, but never dominates the story. I appreciate this in crime fiction as the case should stay central.
The case itself is a good one with plenty of suspects and various potential motives. As the case develops it does become more fantastic, but still within the realms of possibility. The final section goes into full thriller. The nature of the tech also feels incongruous with the realistic police work. I can deal with AI and the dangers it poses, this is very much in the news now, but the VR element felt improbable at best. One of the suspects just so happens to have developed a programme that deals with the exact time and location as a parallel case? As a side plot, it did not detract too much from the main thread, but it is easier to be taken out of a straight crime novel than something like science fiction.
At the core of The Detective is a very solid police procedural crime story. The type of novel that crime readers love. You get a chance to make your own mind up who the killer is. There are some nice twists in the story and enough character development with the Rahman character that you want to come back and see what more there is. I can see this series becoming a drama in ITV at 9pm in the future, it has that structure and the characters for it to work on TV.
Written on 15th June 2023 by Sam Tyler .